John Seelmeyer

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August 15, 2011
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Incline's LIVIA Legal on track for aggressive growth

In his previous professional life, Don Hagans coordinated hundreds of telecommunications entities as chief executive officer of Akamai Asia Pacific, one of the companies that keeps the Internet flowing.

At LIVIA Legal, a young company headquartered at Incline Village, Hagans may be taking on an even-bigger challenge: Moving law firms away from legal pads and toward cloud-based systems to manage their practices.

Two years in development, LIVIA aggressively came to market at the start of this year with a staff of more than 250 including 12 at Incline Village and more than 200 at Mumbai, India.

The company is financed by IL&FS Technologies Ltd., which itself is part of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited, one of the largest infrastructure and financial conglomerates in India.

"They want us to be very large," Hagans says.

Within the next year, LIVIA expects to employ more than 1,000 people at its Mumbai office to provide 24/7 support to the American law firms that sign up for LIVIA's service.

Along with sales staff on the street in major American cities, LIVIA is growing an inside-sales staff at Incline Village.

Pushing growth while maintaining the quality of service is a challenge, Hagans acknowledges.

"The issue for me is the scaling of this business," he says. "We've got to keep all the gears in a place where they fit together."

On the other hand, LIVIA Legal's management team thinks the time is right to move quickly.

Its initial target market, the 1.2 million lawyers in the United States, has been slow to adopt practice management systems.

"The legal industry is lagging fairly significantly," says Hagans, who practiced law and managed a Texas law firm before he got into business.

But lawyers practicing in one-person firms and big offices alike are under pricing pressure from buyers of corporate law services on one side and do-it-yourself document preparation options such as on the other.

Hagans says that LIVIA Legal positions itself as " for lawyers" a single platform that provides practice-management tools such as time-and-expense management, document management, details of contacts with clients and marketing tools.

The company thinks its cloud-based system provides a competitive edge as clients pay a month-by-month subscription as little as $300 for small firms rather than an upfront licensing fee for software.

Hagans says the company also believes the availability of 24/7 technical support also will be a key selling point to lawyers who want to generate billable hours rather than spending their workdays trying to solve software problems.

LIVIA spent the better part of two years developing the practice-management system, including steps to win ISO 27001 certification for information security.

As it's rolling out the product, the company also has been nailing down partnerships with other companies that are automating the legal profession.

A few days ago, for instance, LIVIA said it struck a partnership to use systems developed by HotDocs, a Utah developer of document-automation technology.

That announcement came just days after LIVIA established a partnership with Med-Legal, a Los Angeles company that provides review and analysis of medical records in legal cases.

The company's headquarters location at Incline Village has proven to be a powerful tool in recruiting sales and management professionals.

The development of a top sales staff was made easier, too, by corporate downsizing during the recession that made experienced professionals relatively easy to find.

"That was great for us, being able to pick them up," Hagans says.

While its sales force in the field focuses much of its effort on big law firms, LIVIA also works with legal associations to market to batches of smaller firms all at once.

"That's where we are saving a lot of time and energy," says Hagans.

Even though Hagans and his team are convinced they've got a product that can become well-established quickly they see only a couple of small competitors in the market they don't believe that a good product alone will bring success to LIVIA.

"Everyone has to have a good vision, but that doesn't get you there," he says. "You need people, and you need money."

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Northern Nevada Business Weekly Updated Aug 15, 2011 12:00AM Published Aug 15, 2011 12:00AM Copyright 2011 Northern Nevada Business Weekly. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.